"Who are you?"

"My apologies," he said. "I forgot my manners. I'm Thomas Lacket, the owner of this manor. And you are?"

"Clarice . . ." She rubbed her temples. "My last name has escaped me for the moment."

"No doubt caused by being out in that storm last night," he said.

"I need to get back to where I came from."

"Where is that?"

Clarice rubbed her forehead as if to pull the memory from her brain. "I don't recall that either." She glanced down the hallway. "Why are those doors chained?"

"It doesn't concern you," he said with a hint of irritation. "Rest until Tribell comes for you." He then waved his hand in front of her face.

Instantly she found herself back in her room and lying on the bed. She closed her eyes, certain she was having a nightmare, and fell into a deep sleep.

*     *     *

Clarice awoke with a start. The sounds of the waves crashing onto the beach drew her attention to the window. For a very brief moment she thought she saw an apparition of a man outside in the dark looking in at her, then it vanished. Startled, she quickly sat up and looked around the room. The candles in the sconces had been lit. The flames flickered as the moist, cool breeze came in through the open window. She got off of the bed and went to the vanity dresser and stared at her reflection in the mirror. She put her fingers to her cheeks, concerned with their paleness. When pinching them brought no color, she opened a drawer and searched among the folded lace handkerchiefs and hair ribbons for a pin or needle. After at last finding a needle under a white glove she took it out and jabbed the tip of her left index finger. When no blood bubbled out she jabbed her middle finger. She poked each of her fingers and the skin on her forearm.

"No blood," she said, distraught. "How can that be?"

"Perhaps you're anemic."

Clarice spun around. Tribell was standing in the shadows in a corner of the room, her arms crossed.

"How did you get in here?" Clarice said, flinging the needle onto the dresser.

"I've been here," she said. "You must comb your hair and smooth the wrinkles in your dress. It's time to join the master for supper."

*     *     *

"Why are there no portraits of your family in this house?" Clarice said looking around the dining room. Every wall was bare except for several brass sconces.

"My family took their faces with them to their graves," he said with a wry chuckle.

When a male servant in formal attire entered the room carrying a tray of food, Clarice turned in her chair and put her hand to her mouth and fought back the urge to scream. Half of his young face was a mass of burnt, scarred flesh. One eye was missing from a darkened socket.

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